Pursuing Preservation

Michael Spencer demonstrates use of the borescope to Jen Sustar, Krysha Snyder, Linda Eckley and Victoria Leonard.

Aaron Caine has a new appreciation for the old white clapboard cottage a stone’s throw from the stately Belmont mansion in Stafford County. “I can’t believe I never noticed this house,” said Caine, a senior historic preservation major at the University of Mary Washington who grew up in the area.  “I’ve driven by here many times and never realized that it was here.” Assistant Professor Michael Spencer understands the oversight. The tenant house is dwarfed by Belmont, the impressive Georgian estate on the hillside once owned by 19th century artist Gari Melchers. Very little archival information is available about the Falmouth cottage referred to in historical documents only as “the house across the road.” The building, which is part of the Melchers estate administered by UMW, makes an ideal study for Caine and the seven students in Spencer’s “building forensics” class who have spent the semester building on previous research and documentation skills, honing old and new … [Read more...]